Most people have probably had the experience of being told “no” when they go to apply for a job. Job hunting can sometimes be very difficult even for the most qualified person.

Now, imagine that you’re searching for a job but you have several disabilities. Your job search just got quite a bit harder, didn’t it?

Michael Coyne is autistic, bipolar and has ADHD. When he turned 21, he applied for a job, and he was told “no.” He eventually got tired of being rejected and decided to do something about it. He decided that he needed to hire himself.

Michael attended business classes through the Rhode Island Developmental Disability Center, and with the help of his parents, he opened his own business, a coffee shop called Red, White and Brew Coffeehouse.

Michael’s mother Sheila Coyne told WPRI 12,  “As parents, we look at our kids and see the value. We see what they are capable of, instead of the system that’s consistently labeling them and putting barriers.” She added, “I couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s done amazing things.”

Sheila thinks that a coffee shop is a great place where Michael, and other employees with disabilities, can work on their social skills, and the community can learn more about people who have disabilities. 

Red, White and Brew wants to hire people who have disabilities as well as people who do not have disabilities. Michael explained, “We just want to integrate.”

The company’s mission statement is to “employ people with developmental disabilities, encourage community engagement, and change the way the world sees those with disabilities.”

Enjoy a glimpse inside Red, White and Brew in the video below.

In addition to hiring people who have disabilities, the coffeehouse is also selling hand crafted items from some of Michael’s peers in the adjacent retail store called “The Budding Violet.”

Many people have been inspired by Michael’s story. One person commented, “Congratulations 🎉 my son has autism and I no it’s very hard to get a job keep the faith and continue with your dreams.” Another comment reads, “AWESOME! This gives me so much hope, my granddaughter is Autistic & I worry so much about these kind of things, now I have less anxiety about her growing up! Congrats to Coyne! Way to play it!😊💞”

Have you ever had trouble finding a job? Does it surprise you that someone who is autistic, bipolar and who has ADHD could own his own business?